Training with a Purpose

My son is involved in a youth football team and recently I was asked to help out on one of the training sessions. I was really just making up the numbers, but as an aikido coach, I was interested in what the boys were asked to do and how they went about it.

All the things they did were relevant to enhancing their skills, but I thought they lacked focus and that they didn’t get too much out of the session. It felt like it was more of a duty than a real opportunity to hone their skills. Part of this was down to the coaching, which focused on the group, and didn’t really provide individual feedback, but part of this was down to the boys. I’m pretty sure that it had never occurred to them that they should take responsibility for their own training.

Each has their own particular strengths and weaknesses and I’m reasonably certain, that every boy knows what these are. I suggested to them, that before each session they should decide what they personally needed to develop and that there would almost certainly be plenty of opportunity to practise this within the overarching structure set by the coaches.

I don’t know if the boys will take up this suggestion, but I do know that when it comes to personal development, you get out as much as you put in. Development doesn’t happen, just because you want it to, it happens because you work at it.

As an aikido teacher and coach, I can provide insight and shine light on areas of the practise that might be difficult for my students to find on their own. I can also set a good example and seek to inspire, but at best I’m probably only responsible for maybe 10% of their growth. The rest is down to their own desire to change and develop. It reminds me of the following story about Gary Player.”

Of course it’s no different in life or business. If you want to become a better leader, or improve your relationship skills then you have to work at it. Attending a training session, or appointing a personal coach, can be really helpful at focusing your efforts appropriately, but in the end, you have to take what you have learnt and practise it until it’s part of who you are and no longer have to think about it.

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